Dr. Varsha Daryanani’s Column
Q. My 21 month old has 8 frontal teeth now… he doesn’t really like brushing though I have tried multiple toothbrushes, games, songs on brushing, baby friendly flavored toothpaste… his lower teeth are beginning to turn yellowish.. what can I do ? Is brushing with fingers good enough. Is two times a day really important ?
– Megha Jindal
It is very important to use a good, age specific toothbrush for your child. Brushing with fingers is not good enough and yes, brushing twice a day is of utmost importance. You can also bring you child to Crown Corner’s playdates, as here we try out various methods that help your child brush regularly and we can have a checkup done.
Here are a few other tips you can follow that will encourage your child to Brush.
The parent is the first role model of the child and children adore the act of mimicking their parents. . They are incredibly sharp at picking up things from looking at adults and you can use this to your advantage. This will instill healthy brushing habits in them from an early age. Show your children how to properly brush your teeth and let them see how much fun you are having while doing that. This will encourage your child to pick up their tooth brush and join in the fun, and you can then teach them the proper technique of brushing their teeth.
A Toothbrush should not be too hard. It should have a small head so that it fits into the tiny mouth of kids. Take your child along while picking a toothbrush for him/her. That way the child feels involved and will cooperate for tooth brushing. Nowadays you can actually find toothbrushes at any convenience store that are designed in cute shapes and after Disney cartoons and fun characters. For special children the electric brush can be used as it is more effective in the removal of plaque. You can find toothbrushes that spin, toothbrushes that talk, and toothbrushes with your child’s favorite character.
Make brushing a fun ritual:
In this day and age innumerable toothbrushes with cartoon characters are available to make brushing entertaining. There are brushes which light up and have tunes of melody in them. You can put on a distinctive brushing song to boost them to brush. One way to get around this hurdle to let them do their favorite activity while brushing their teeth. Allow them to take their favorite toy to the washroom, in order to watch the brushing or make up a teeth brushing story. Another idea is to Get a doll or stuffed animal, and let your toddler brush the doll’s teeth. Pay attention while your child acts it out – you can learn what parts of tooth brushing might be scary or uncomfortable, and you can then discuss ways to make it more comfortable.
You can print out a chart so that they can keep track of their daily brushing. If your child gets comfort from seeing a schedule, create a chart of what activities you do each morning and evening (two times of the day we brush). And at the end of the week you can reward them. This will enhance their morale and will strive to do better each week. Every time the child successfully brushes, a star can be awarded to him on the chart. Using pictures, show a typical sequence of the day – wake up, visit the restroom, brush teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast. It might be comforting for your child to know “what comes next.”
Minors often pay more attention to messages that they receive from outsiders. Use a pop-up book or watch videos. Make regular visits to your pediatric dentist wherein the dentist shows the accurate brushing skills which may help. Talk about your own dental appointments in a positive manner. Give your child the opportunity to ask questions about what happens during a dental appointment. This helps to eliminate a sense of mystery that often creates a sense of fear with respect to visiting the dentist.